Mama, Can You Hear Me? – October 15, 2020

So, I had known that quite a bit of time had passed since my last blog post, but I didn’t think it was as much as it’s turned out to be. It’s been just over a month and a half since I made my last update, and after I said I was going to put more effort into trying to keep up with it.

I can’t say it’s been a great six weeks. It hasn’t been horrible, and it’s had good moments, don’t get me wrong, but more often than not I’ve been quite down for the last little while, and that’s made me very prone to procrastination. I haven’t gotten much done around the house, which is unusual for me, and I’m behind in a lot of personal projects, too. I can’t even blame my laziness on work, since I’ve been laid off for two of the last six weeks, so I’ve had plenty of time to catch up on things.

I have done some stuff – I replaced one of the basement windows (took forever for the replacement to come in, and the store broke the first one I ordered so they had to issue a replacement, so that made it take even longer), made yet another custom Captain Canuck action figure, started a new project; a retro computer/gaming system based around a Raspberry Pi, I closed the pool, built a really cool new computer desk for my son, and I’ve just about finished the Hot Tub-Room Movie Theater project.

I know that may sound like I’ve done quite a bit, but really it isn’t. I’ve had a lot of idle time, doing little more than watching Youtube videos, and not interesting ones either.

I’m not sure if it’s the impending weather change, or COVID-fatigue, a combination of those two, or something completely unrelated, but a funk has settled on me once again and I’m having a hard time shaking it. I know it seems to happen a lot lately, and I’m beginning to wonder if maybe I am experiencing some form of clinical depression.

I’ve said before that I don’t like using that word for the “blue periods” that I seem to have more often than I’d rather. I don’t want to be seen as co-opting or belittling someone else’s serious issues or conditions, as I can’t imagine my petty little episodes to be all that serious. After all, I am able to function, to “adult”, to deal with what life throws at me without letting my life negatively impact those around me. Or at least I think so.

I try not to bring down those around me when I get in these moods, but I do have to admit that can be difficult sometimes. I don’t often act out with anger, usually I just mope around, but once in a while I do get a bit grumpier than I have a right to be. I guess in some ways my moods can affect those I interact with, though I do honestly try not to let that happen. I’m starting to wonder if maybe I am trying to downplay what’s been going on with me, my moods and anxieties, so that I can convince myself to just shake it off and get up and go to work.

I’ve been trying to pull myself out of this funk, and yes, I realize I say that a lot, but I’m not having much luck. Everytime I think I may be coming out of it, life throws me another small curveball that for some reason I just can seem to deal well with.

This past week it’s been Carmageddon, Part Deux. Two of my three cars have needed major, and unexpected repairs this week, and I’m trying to decide what to do about that. We’ve been planning on replacing the old mini-van with something newer that could tow a bit more as we also want to replace our old camper, but the van hasn’t been the concern. The Caliber that my wife drives to work, the newest of our three cars, needed some suspension work that ran just a bit over a grand, and also needed new tires. So there was that.

The other car issue is the PT Cruiser. The Cruiser spent the last four or so years being driven by my daughter, back and forth to work and school, to the point where it essentially became her car. That changed a few months ago, as I mentioned in my last blog post when she went out and bought herself her own vehicle, and we were very happy for her. So we now had an extra car. I debated getting rid of it when she first gave it back, but then I drove it around for a bit and thought it would make a great city car for me to tool around in, back and forth to work, etc. She had kept it very clean and well maintained, and it was a bit more fun than driving the van, so I had settled on keeping it for myself for a bit.

Well, the water-pump went on it last week, which on that model is about a grand to repair. Add to that the other incidental costs of repairs it will likely need over the next year (it’s 15 years old and had over 120,000 km on it) and it’s probably not worth the cost of fixing it. I know I should probably just junk it, after all, it’s an un-needed vehicle right now and we are looking at getting a new car soon, but I was kinda having a good time driving around in something other than my van. It’s silly, I know, but it’s got me a bit bummed out.

A bigger contributor to my mood, though, is the fight I had with my mom about three weeks ago now.

Some of you who’ve been following my blog for a while may remember a post I made about my brother losing his mind at my mom’s 75th birthday and trying to start a fight with me. How he went completely off the rails in front of my aunt and my cousin and threatened to punch me and my son in the face because we were making him look like a bad guy somehow. Seriously, my aunt and cousin couldn’t understand it either. His insanity came out of the blue and totally ruined my mom’s birthday.

Well, my idiot brother, Donny, is the baby of the family, and as such is used to getting his way with his tantrums. I don’t want to re-hash everything that happened that night, so if you’re interested, follow this link to my original post.

Anyway, ever since then, my mom has been trying to find a way to shift at least some, if not all of the blame for the debacle of an evening on to me, despite everything that I, my wife, my aunt, and my cousin had told her of my brother’s behavior. This despite my brother deciding to avoid nearly every other family get-together since then, even the one (his nephew’s confirmation party) that was held at my brother’s own restaurant, just so he can avoid the embarrassment of having to look me in the eye again, and also likely out of a well-justified fear that I’ll give him the beating he deserves.

Three weeks ago, my mother tried once more to find some way to make me responsible for my brother’s actions that night, and I’d had enough. Now, I do get it to a degree, as my brother is such an asshole that my mom is afraid that if she doesn’t take his side he’ll prevent her from seeing her granddaughter and new grandson – everyone else in my family is certain that, with the encouragement of his “See-You-Next-Tuesday” of a wife egging him on, that my little brother is more than capable of doing just that. I can understand that fear, I can, but I just can’t deal with being blamed, yet again, for his out-of-the-blue insanity. I’m far from the only person my brother has treated this way, believe me, others in my family could tell you stories, but I won’t let him paint me as the instigator here, and I won’t let my mom do that for him either.

So I stormed out of my mom’s house, letting her know that I wouldn’t come back until she was ready to stop blaming me and to call my brother and his wife out for their shitty behavior. She made a huge scene in her driveway, gripping on to me and trying to keep me from leaving, knowing I couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything to her physically. I had to sit there and yell at her to let me go, which she eventually did. If any of the neighbors were watching, that would have been a sight, I’m sure. My mom’s tried calling me since, but I haven’t answered.

I know I’ll have to back down soon and talk to her. I can’t shut her out of my life, not at her age, but I just can’t bring myself to do that yet, and it’s weighing heavily on me. As the oldest child, I’m kinda used to getting the short end of the stick from my parents. I was always the one to get the harsher punishments, the stricter rules. By the time my siblings, who are both quite younger than me, came along, my parents were better off, more comfortable in their adopted country, and dealing with less life stress than when I was a baby. I broke my parents in for my sibs, and I wish they’d take time to appreciate that.

But I don’t feel I should have to do that any longer.

My brother’s wife has always treated our family, even my mother as if we were second-class citizens. She’s always thought her and her family to be too good for us and has held that over my brother’s head since before they got married, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they did use their children as a weapon against my mom. It’s a shitty thing to do, but my brother’s wife is that petty a person. Still, I really wish my mom would stand up for herself against the way they treat her, using her only for a sitter whenever they need one and barely acknowledging her any other time.

Above all, though, I wish she’d stop trying to make excuses for their behavior, or to shift the blame for their actions onto someone else, meaning me.

I guess that’s what’s really been keeping me down. It’s something I’ll have to deal with, especially with the holidays approaching, but I really don’t want to.

Anyways, onto what’s really supposed to be the purpose of this blog… my writing, or lack there-of.

Since finishing my last novel-draft at the end of August, I really haven’t done much writing at all, except for these two blog posts and a half-hearted attempt at an outline for my next NaNo project. I’ve even let my D&D game lapse, making excuses not to hold it for the past few sessions. I know I should force myself, but I just haven’t been in much of a mood to write.

I have to change that soon. NaNo is just over two weeks away, and I’ve never gone into it as ill-prepared as I am right now. I do have a story idea, and a half-finished outline based on Dan Harmon’s “Story Circle” format, which is a simplified derivation of Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey”, but I have a long way to go before I’m as ready as I usually am for November 1st.

Otherwise, life is great 🙂

Well, life is ok. I’m still off the ciggies, which I’m thankful for. I can’t imagine how much poorer I’d be right now if I had been smoking through the worst of the pandemic lockdown. I’d probably be up to three packs a day by now just from the boredom. I’m keeping up with my workouts, going to the gym five times a week, and I think it’s paying off. I do feel (and look) a bit better and have put on a few pounds of muscle. And things at my work and at home seem to be going well enough.

If I could pull myself out of this funk, things would be great 🙂

Oh, well, hopefully, that will happen by the next time I post an update, which I promise I’ll try and do at least once more before NaNo starts up.

I hope you’re all doing well, and keeping safe through what looks to be the prophesized second wave. All the best to you and yours in these strange, unprecedented times.

Be Well,

Rob, the Wannabe Writer.

#NaNoMinus16

#NaNoWriMo2020

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